SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – With energy rates expected to be higher this year, the Springfield City Council is considering an option that could potentially make electricity cheaper in the long run.

On Wednesday Sustainability and Environment Subcommittee met to discuss Community Choice Energy. Council President Jesse Lederman emphasized this is about looking at long term solutions when it comes to energy suppliers, and local advocates are hoping the city will make the switch.

Community Choice Energy Aggregation is a process in Massachusetts that allows local communities to have the responsibility of contracting the supply source of electricity that flows to ratepayers in their district. This allows districts to prioritize longer-term energy agreements to stabilize the supply of electricity rates of ratepayers in the community, as well as to negotiate the number of renewable energy sources that are supported by the contract.

Local coalition LiveWell Springfield hopes this will become a reality. “The consideration is price stability,” Samantha Hamilton told the Committee. “That’s the opportunity that we’re putting forward in switching to Community Choice Energy.”

This does not mean Springfield would be cutting ties with Eversource and that’s because Springfield might pick the supplier but Eversource will still deliver the service.

“If the power goes out, Eversource still has all their crews to go and fix the wires,” Catherine Ratte with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission said. “The Aggregator is not the one that has to do that, that’s still Eversource’s responsibility.”

Advocates see this as an opportunity to have Springfield’s electricity grid entirely rely on renewable energy. However, Council President Jesse Lederman said the current focus would be to start the program.

“The green aspect is more so a commitment that the administration would need to make,” Lederman said. “Now what we could do is in our passage of it, encourage the Administration, perhaps accompany it with a resolution.”

West Springfield and Hadley utilize Community Choice. Eversource does not profit from their supply rates.

Lederman said Community Choice would have to be authorized by the City Council through an order, and then the Mayor would have a key role in setting up the administration.

“As Chair of the Sustainability & Environment Committee I want to thank the community members from the Climate Change, Health, & Equity Committee for the opportunity to be able to work together in addressing one of the most important issues affecting our community: the unstable cost of electricity,” said Ward 1 City Councilor Maria Perez, Chair of the Sustainability & Environment Committee, “Our Committee Meeting will allow us to discuss publicly what Community Choice Energy is, and let our residents know that we have options.”

“I am proud to be on the cutting edge of instituting an initiative to help stabilize energy costs for our community. I’ve heard from many constituents regarding the month-to-month increases, and it is time for us to put the concerns of residents over the profits of energy companies,” said Ward 8 City Councilor Zaida Govan, Chair of the Maintenance and Development Committee.